The granaries and greenhouses at the North Central Research Extension Center outside of Minot, N.D., are filled with cats, dogs and cacti.
The North Dakota State University ag research center is housing 380 cats, dogs and other pets for people whose homes are being flooded by the Souris River. More than 11,000 people have evacuated from the city of 36,000. More than 5,000 homes are expected to be inundated by flood water. Humane Society staff and volunteers are caring for the animals.
Research and extension center is also housing a cati collection from a Minot greenhouse that will be flooded. The cacti are part of a private collection that will be moved to the Peace Gardens when a conservatory there is expanded.
"Housing pets and cacti doesn't have anything to do with production agriculture," Jay Fisher, director of center, "but we're doing what we can to help."
Ag research continues at the center, located 1 mile south of Minot. The center plans to holds a series of field days over the next few weeks.
A canola field day will be held June 29
The pulse tour will be held July 7.
The center annual field day will be held July 20.
"We have a lot of educational needs this year," Fisher says.
It's estimated that only 25% of the farmland was planted in Ward County where the research center is located.
North and west of Minot – where heavy rains fed the Souris River this spring – even fewer acres were planted.
Sloughs and pastures are flooded. Hay production is expected to be reduced sharply.
Growers are trying to decide how to manage land that they couldn't plant, Fisher says.
The 1200-acre North Central Research and Extension Center was established in 1945 for agricultural field research and pure seed increase. Today, it specializes in crop research and Extension education activities, and in foundation seed production.
The surrounding area includes the largest durum wheat producing counties in the state. Fifty percent of the nation's canola and forty percent of the nation's durum is produced in counties served by the Center. The Center's main research efforts involve grain variety evaluation, weed control, tillage and fertilizer tests.
Research is conducted on small grains, oilseeds, row crops, legumes, forages and other specialty crops. Production is evaluated for no-till and conventional tillage cropping systems.
New research programs include: profitability of crop rotation for durum, spring wheat and barley in north-central North Dakota. Included are sunflower, canola, dry bean, crambe, lentil, dry pea, and mustard. Nitrogen and sulfur fertility needs of small grains, dry bean and canola, commercialization of dry pea production and harvest, row spacing and plant population for sunflower and corn production, the timing of fungicide applications for canola, chickpea and small-grain disease protection. Extension programs were added to the existing research site in 1976 to cover 10 surrounding counties and Fort Berthold.
The seed increase program at the center is a crucial part in the strategic planning and production of foundation seed in the state. The program produces seed on approximately 1,400 acres of owned, leased, and contract growers' land and is committed to improve upon its mission to provide producers with diverse crops and varieties which are well adapted to the region. Newly released seed varieties are made available through county crop/agriculture improvement associations.